At Jacob’s one year doctor’s appointment, his pediatrician told us we can throw out all of the pureed baby food and give Jacob table food exclusively.
“He should eat what you eat,” she said, smiling.
I can’t admit to the pediatrician that I survive on the super healthy mom diet of coffee, a protein bar (breakfast), more coffee, a handful of almonds (snack), coffee, a salad or a yogurt (lunch), some random junk food scavenged from the English office or stolen from another teacher’s candy drawer (I’m the worst. I’ll literally walk in while he’s teaching, take candy out of his drawer, laugh at the kids when they ask for some, and walk back out) when I’m starving sixth period that I then spend the rest of the day feeling guilty about, Diet Coke (not every day–but when we’re going through a sleep regression, I’m allowed to do whatever I need to in order to survive), a handful of crackers (snack), and then chicken and veggies (dinner).
In fact, looking over my daily diet, I’m shocked that I don’t have scurvy. When did I last eat a piece of fruit? I didn’t even eat a purple donut, so Homer Simpson’s logic that purple is a fruit doesn’t apply.
That is NOT a balanced diet for a baby toddler (he’s not quite a toddler yet. I can’t call him that. But he IS a baby toddler).
So as I see it, I’ve got two options. I can either adopt a balanced diet for myself and then feed him bite-sized pieces of what I eat, or I can keep doing what I’m doing and feed HIM a balanced diet.
In a perfect world, I’d go with option A, but I’m working full time, tired, and trying to keep weight off without having time to exercise. Judge me if you will, but until the scurvy sets in, I’m sticking with what works.
(Actually, I put low sugar craisins in my salad for today. That counts as fruit right? If purple is a fruit, red is definitely a fruit!)
So I need to figure out what to feed Jacob. His favorite foods so far: grilled cheese, french toast, veggie straws (which, despite clever marketing, are not healthy. They’re slightly less unhealthy potato chips. They’re basically Baked Lays, but yummy), and freeze-dried yogurt drops.
He’ll eat almost anything if it’s pureed–the only things he won’t touch with a ten-foot pole are beets (tried a baby food mix that had beets in it and he gagged on it, spit it right out, then looked at me distrustfully and wouldn’t let me feel him again until I made him grilled cheese two meals in a row. I can’t blame him. Beets are pretty gross) and mangoes.
Whole foods, however, are providing slightly more challenging. Both because he’s not always a fan of textures (he’ll put something in his mouth, decide he’s not into it, and pull it right back out) and because he’s discovered he has a favorite game. I’m calling it “Hungry, Hungry Doggies.”
Both schnauzers began camping out under his high chair shortly after we began using it. At first, they laid next to it, hoping for thrown Cheerios. Then Jacob started dropping toys and sippy cups on their heads, so now they take shelter under him. But when he throws food, two dog heads pop out and scrabble for it, like it’s a marble in the board game. And he laughs hysterically.
Meaning that his food has become their food. (Of course, he’s also gone after their food now. I’ve pulled three pieces of dog food out of his mouth before he could swallow them so far. Mangoes he won’t touch, but kibble? Delicious.)
In other words, it has now become a challenge to get healthy food in him because the only four dishes that he won’t throw to the dogs are grilled cheese, french toast, veggie straws, and freeze-dried yogurt drops.
So I went to the experts: my mom friends. “Help meeeeee,” I begged. “How do I get Jacob to eat healthy foods?”
And I got a plethora of things to try, most of which Jacob summarily rejected because all babies are different and Jacob is smart enough to know that if he throws enough green beans to the dogs, I’ll eventually cave and make him something yummy.
One of my mom friends also tagged me in some Instagram posts from moms who do “kid food-spiration.” (Yes, that’s a thing. The internet has officially gone too far and I think society has been destroyed.) And I was like, oh cool, I’ll follow these pages and get great ideas about what to feed Jacob.
But the more I’m seeing, the more convinced I am that these moms all live in Brooklyn and appear on HGTV shows with multi-million dollar budgets without any discernible source of income. Because no, I’m not making vegan quinoa, tofu and avocado “deconstructed tacos” with gluten-free, homemade bean chips and chickpea and sunflower butter cookies for dessert, all packed in an eco-friendly, BPA free, recycled lunch tin with compartments specifically for their non-GMO, locally sourced, organic pomegranate seeds.
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
Dude, I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin swirl bread every day from K-12 for lunch and turned out fine. Granted, I didn’t grow up to have the healthiest eating habits, and I’m hearing that peanut butter is banned from most elementary schools now because of food allergies so that probably won’t be an option for Jacob, but still. I never brought anything green for lunch and I’m pretty sure no one ever called social services on my mom.
With that said, Jacob seems to be a fan of broccoli. I found “broccoli tots” at the grocery store, which he loves (like tater tots, but broccoli instead of potato). We’re still using some of the food packets to supplement his fruit and veggie intake on days when the dogs get a feast. And considering his doctor mentioned that we can give him chicken nuggets (he hasn’t had that particularly delicacy yet), I think we’re doing okay, despite the lack of organic, locally sourced kale and quinoa.
Of course, now that I’ve admitted to my terrible eating habits, I’m making myself feel guilty about the example that I’m setting and am thinking I should start bringing an apple to school to avoid the sixth period candy run. It’s probably a good idea to model healthy eating habits.
And to avoid scurvy. I don’t even know exactly what that is, but if it’s a disease that pirates got, I’m thinking it’s not pretty.